Moving country whether for business of pleasure is an exciting time, and a big step for anyone. With so much to think about, the “to do list” can be daunting and items easily overlooked. For many expats, it’s also a surprise to have to put health insurance near the top of such a list since the concept of it as a mandatory purchase is a new one: especially for those coming from countries where they’ve been able to access a government-backed national health service.

Luckily, securing health insurance in the UAE is a relatively simple, straightforward process, with a wide range of providers and plans to choose from. That said, it can still be somewhat confusing to know what cover is right for you and if you are getting it at the right price.

In this blog we explore the world of health insurance in the UAE and answer some frequently asked questions.

Is Health Insurance Mandatory in the UAE?

Put simply, yes! Under Federal Law, all residents of the UAE are required to have their own health insurance.

Am I required to have a certain type of Health Insurance in the UAE?

You are free to choose the type of health insurance plan that suits you and your requirements best. The only stipulation is that you should have health insurance in force and that the cover provided under the policy should be at least the same as the minimum standard for the emirate in which you are residing (for example, a Dubai Health Authority backed EBP or Essential Benefits Plan).

I’m an expat, how do I get the best health insurance?

So how do expats get health insurance and who are the best health insurance companies? Probably the easiest way to compare the market for private health insurance is to look online, where’s there a wealth of information on local providers available. Why not visit Our website is a great source of information, providing not only a list of the best health insurance companies in Dubai, but also essential details of what is and isn’t typically covered under a health insurance policy.

How much does health insurance cost per month?

Insurance premiums are calculated on a number of risk factors based around medical condition and lifestyle choices such as:

  • smoker/non-smoker
  • height and weight
  • exercise: type & frequency
  • pre-existing medical conditions
  • familial medical history

Like anything to do with health, each situation and the cost to insure is entirely as personal as the individual concerned but one thing is clear: the “cleaner” the lifestyle, the more positive the impact on health, fitness and the price you pay to insure yourself!

Are health insurance plans for expats different from regular plans?

As an expat, you have a choice as to how to deal with your health insurance requirements. If you are now a resident of the country you have migrated to and are living, and probably working, there full-time, you are most likely to have considered taking out a health insurance plan through one of top insurance companies locally.

In Dubai, for example, you should have an Essential Benefits Plan (EBP), as a minimum. This type of policy is widely available and very affordable: however, it should be noted that as an entry-level plan it has the lowest level of coverage. You should check the limits provided carefully to ensure that they meet your anticipated needs and to prevent any “nasty surprises” in the event of a claim later. For maximum coverage you should consider a higher grade “comprehensive” health plan that will provide higher limits and more extensive benefits: especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition that may require on-going or future treatment. Note that you can do this either “ground-up” (if you arrange your own insurance) or via a top-up health insurance plan if your employer already provides you with EBP cover but you’d like something more sophisticated.

Another option is an International Private Medical Insurance. This policy is flexible in that it will cover you annually and follows you around, so ideal if you are an expat who is likely to move country during the course of the year. Many leading insurers in Dubai and across the UAE have IPMI products so you can be assured of secure, suitable coverage from one of the top 5 health insurance companies such as Allianz and Aetna International. This is a popular option for many expats in the UAE and Dubai in particular, with many benefitting from international insurance through their employers.

About Author

Rachel Al Mughairi

About Author

With over 34 years in the international insurance industry in a variety of senior management roles, and as holder of the Diploma in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute, Rachel surely knows her insurance! With experience in London, continental Europe and the Middle East, Rachel is here to share her knowledge and help you understand more about insurance products in this easy-to-understand series of videos and blogs.